Kiwi Ferns coach Tony Benson says his side need to make a "quantum leap" to get past the Australian Jillaroos in tomorrow's Women's Rugby League World Cup final in Brisbane.
The reigning champion Jillaroos are favourites to retain the title they claimed with a historic win over the Kiwi Ferns in the 2013 tournament final, while New Zealand are desperate to avenge that loss and win a fourth World Cup after triumphs in 2000, 2005 and 2008.
Benson is confident his team can do the job at Suncorp Stadium but believes they'll need to find another level if they are to topple the Jillaroos who have dominated recent clashes between the two sides.
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"We're underdogs, the Jillaroos have beaten us in the Nines three-nil and then in the Anzac test and they've obviously progressed since then too," said Benson.
"We have to make a quantum leap and I think in the girl's minds they have - looking at them physically they certainly have. I really feel like I'm here with a bunch of international rugby league elite athletes and they feel that way too.
"We're really excited for this game, it can't come quick enough."
Both sides dominated the pool stages of the tournament at Sydney's Southern Cross Group Stadium, with Australia amassing 242 points in four matches so far while New Zealand have scored 216, with both teams leaking just two tries.
The Kiwi Ferns boast plenty of finishing ability out wide with 36-year-old wing Honey Hireme the tournament's leading try-scorer with 11 four-pointers in three games so far, while bruising back-rower Teuila Fotu-Moala was named player of the tournament.
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Benson has no concerns about his side's attacking power but says they need to improve their ball control after completing just 35 per cent of their sets in the first half of last week's 48-4 semi-final victory over England, and also dropping off the pace in their 76-0 runaway pool win over the Cook Islands.
"We've let ourselves down occasionally for short periods in games with territory and possession so we've got to maintain ours," he said.
"Against the Cook Islands there was a 10 minute period where we did that and against England it was 20 minutes and we lost that period 4-0.
"In the second half we had all of the territory and possession and 100 per cent completions and it was 38-0."
Captain Laura Mariu echoed those sentiments ahead of what will be her last test for New Zealand after appearing in all five Women's World Cups, with 40-year-old veteran Sharlene Atai also set to retire from international football.
"It's a matter of holding on to the ball," said Mariu.
"We're very strong on attack, we've got very strong and mobile forwards so it's going to be a territory game and a matter of completing our sets and that's going to be the focus for our side."
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Earlier this week, Australian captain Ruan Sims downplayed her side's chances and denied the Jillaroos were favourites, insisting the pressure is on the visitors.
"The Kiwis have three World Cups under their belt, we have one, so the weight of history is with the Kiwis," said Sims.
"They are very, very strong. They've been the pinnacle of the game for an extended period of time.
"Now it's really an arm-wrestle between both sides and we just want to get out there and execute, we want to work our game plan and get to the points we want to get to and achieve those little mini-goals along the way.
"If we can do all of that then we hope that we can come out on top but I guarantee it will be a very physical affair on Saturday."